It’s officially time for the games to get real. Starting this weekend, every game counts for something. This is always one of my favorite times of the year because a few things happen simultaneously: We train less, play more and actually get to celebrate our goals. In preseason you train an insane amount, play almost never and have to pretend like you’re not happy about scoring. Thank goodness it’s time for the bright lights to come on!
Last week we trained our asses off because we had the weekend off. We had double trainings on three of the days and got into the gym as well. We ran fitness every day and generally made the most of our last non-game week for the next two months. The guys are super fit just like last year, and that will help us a lot because I don’t think many Finnish teams make fitness a priority. We ran circles around teams last year in the 2nd halves and specifically the last 20 minutes of games. If you don’t believe me, go back and see how many times we came from behind to win or draw last year. It must have been 7-8 times at least. As for me personally I’m happy with where my fitness is, but I realize that this is my last opportunity to really build my fitness level for quite some time. My game is based almost solely around running, so the more I can run (and specifically, sprint), the better player I’ll be. I’m essentially going to train through the League Cup final to give myself one week extra to prepare for Veikkausliiga. It won’t affect my play this weekend anyway, as I’ll likely not play huge minutes. I don’t know what the lineup will be, but seeing as this will be only my second game I can’t imagine I’ll play 90 minutes. When you think about that, it would be almost irresponsible for me as a professional to not do a bit extra work to get caught up to my teammates’ fitness.
On Friday we had only one training and then were given the weekend off. That gave me some time to try and get some stuff done. I finally got my phone setup, so I’m on the grid! I also sorted out my credit cards so that I no longer had to fear starving to death because I can’t buy things. I wanted to look at apartments, but apparently in Finland no rental company has any interest in getting tenants for their open apartments. I emailed one company, who waited three days then emailed me back to offer me an apartment that met not a single one of my criteria. I then walked into a particular rental company, the same company that I used last year for my apartment by the way, and they proceeded to tell me that they’d call me later with options...WHAT? I’m tempted to go on a rant here, but I’ll hold back and just give you the thesis of my rant: Why would a leasing company not show empty apartments to a prospective tenant who is ready to move in immediately? Why would this process possibly be so difficult? There is literally no risk of non-payment since VPS is paying for it anyway, so I can’t figure out why this has become so difficult.
The free weekend also meant that the team was able to have a bonding night/team party. The less said about it the better, but I did take one picture before cameras were turned off. Just know it was a good night and a necessary thing to help build the kind of team spirit that wins games in the summer.
|Don't talk shit about the picture quality, it's a new phone and I'm not good with the camera!|
Because of the team party, Saturday was necessarily a lazy day. I literally did nothing.
Sunday I did laundry, but not in the way that you probably do laundry. Being in the hotel is like being homeless for a lot of things, laundry being one of them. I can’t afford to wash my clothes at the hotel, so I end up just doubling up everything besides underwear. Unfortunately, I only had a two weeks supply of underwear more or less and by Sunday the situation was getting a bit dangerous! Fortunately for me, a friend stepped up and let me wash clothes at their house. The fact that I even found someone to help me is a big step forward over last year. I think I’m going to achieve my goal of being more social and involved in the happenings of Vaasa this year. That night I watched the Real Madrid - Barcelona game and wow...what a classic. So many stars playing so well in an up and down game. If only every game was like that.
|He and I were born the same week. Depressing.|
We’re back to training now, and the next couple of days will be hard training like last week. We have Wednesday off, and after that our attention will turn to SJK and the League Cup final. We really want to win this game, and it would be my first ever professional trophy, so I’m really excited about it. There should also be pretty good weather and a big crowd which is always fun.
I’ll check in again before the game!